Mercedes' equal strategy policy not negotiable says F1 chief Wolff

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff insists switching Lewis Hamilton's strategy during Formula 1's Brazilian Grand Prix was "out of the question"

Mercedes' equal strategy policy not negotiable says F1 chief Wolff

Hamilton called over the radio at Interlagos to be placed on "a different strategy" at a point when he found himself unable to pass team-mate Nico Rosberg, despite believing he was quicker.

Following the race, Hamilton further suggested he should be allowed to take strategy risks rather than he and Rosberg being forced to run identical tactics as a team policy.

Wolff replied the team will not divert from a clear plan of equality laid down two years ago, particularly as drivers are often emotional and not in possession of the full facts when questioning strategies.

"We have had our principles on the same strategy since 2013, and it worked well for the team, and we will not change that," said Wolff.

"In the car you don't have the complete picture.

"The driver in the car, when he is being emotional, it's understandable.

"We hired guard dogs. We don't want puppies! That's why you can understand. We want them to be guard dogs. Sometimes it's a bit more intense, but that's OK."

Mercedes had initially planned two stops for both cars, then switched to three to cover Ferrari's use of that tactic for Sebastian Vettel.

"With the relatively slender margin we had to the Ferrari, it was much safer to mimic his stops," Wolff said.

He added the only alternative open to Hamilton when he made his complaint "would have been 10 seconds down, so it would have risked his P2 against Sebastian. Therefore, it was out of the question".

Wolff argued Mercedes had not banned strategy divergence outright but would not let its drivers make poor choices.

"Our policy is to let our drivers race and also to allow them to explore viable alternative strategies, as we have shown in the past - but we don't let them pursue a bad alternative strategy at any cost," he said.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Susie Wolff
Teams Mercedes
Author Ian Parkes
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